On Friday, a new industry code of practice, Betting ads ban, was released by the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA). The new code will be effective as of the 30th of March 2018.
The practice prohibits gambling advertisements from being broadcasted while live sporting events are being broadcasted during the hours of 5 am and 8:30 pm. The betting ads ban will take place on the majority of the television channels in Australia.
Why is the Betting Ads Ban Taking Effect?
The betting ads ban is a result of children being exposed to gambling. The idea behind the ban is to prevent children from seeing the gambling advertisements. A report from the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper stated that: “the siren-to-siren ban on gambling ads during daytime live sports broadcasts, which will be in effect five minutes prior to play to five minutes post final play are intended to reduce children’s exposure to them.” However, several so-called “low audience” pay-sports TV channels like EuroSports, ESPN and ESPN2, will reportedly be exempt and the ban will not apply to horse, harness and greyhound racing.
Australian Channel’s Reaction to the Betting Ads Ban
The Australian television channel’s stated that ASTRA “provides niche coverage of overseas events to a small number of highly devoted fans”. So, if advertising revenue dropped, they would become unviable.
Bruce Meagher, the head of corporate affairs for Foxtel (the AU pay television company) replied by saying that: “The principle is that the small channels would be disproportionately affected.” Also, he explained that there are very few children who watch these channels.
However, Mark Zirnsak, a member of the Victorian Inter-Church Gambling Taskforce, doesn’t completely agree with the exemption. Zirnsak, among other gambling reform campaigners, want all gambling ads to be banned during live sporst events, even if they go beyond 8:30 pm.